Gender mainstreaming in disaster recovery for internally displaced persons in Rongai District, Kenya
Gender mainstreaming is a phenomenon that entails integrating gender issues, concerns and needs into the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of policies, programmes, projects and activities at all levels. The aim is to achieve gender parity and equitability. This study was conducted in Rongai District, Kenya. The study objective was to establish the extent of gender mainstreaming in disaster recovery for internally displaced persons in Rongai district. The study used descriptive study design .Sampling was purposeful and it targeted women, men, boys and girls who were internally displaced as a result of 2007 post -election violence in Kenya. They were selected from Minto and Giwa resettlements. The study used focus group discussions consisting of women, men, boys and girls, Key informant interviews and Observation as research instruments. Data was collected using a discussion guide, tape recorded or notes hand written and analyzed using content analysis. The study found out that gender issues were not systematically identifies and appropriately applied to internally displaced persons in the Relief camps and in the resettlement process. Personal items such as undergarments, enough and appropriate clothes for adults and children, sanitary towels, shaving machines, condoms, and special diet for children, pregnant and lactating mothers were not provided by relief agencies. Relief shelters in form of tents were inadequate and inappropriate for parents and children. Sanitary facilities were few, congested and communal, far from the shelters and had no lights leading to children contracting diseases, sexual harassment of women and girls by fellow male IDPs and security personnel. Respondents cited gender discrimination and inequality in form of rape, sex for favours, favoritism of some IDPs by Relief Aid officials during distribution of food and non- food items. Names of some genuine cases were missing from the list in land allocation for resettlement. There was low participation of women, boys and girls in leadership and decision making in the relief camps and the resettlement process. Male dominance was cited in membership of the camp committees. Roles of women and girls were cited as domestic chores, caring for sick members and a negligible number was involved in distribution of relief items. Women were assigned the role of household heads by relief agencies. Men did partially domestic chores such as cooking and serving IDPs in relief camps, split firewood, offloaded and ferried relief items to satellite and provided security at night. Boys assisted in fetching water, splitting firewood and cooking meals. There was a shift in gender roles. The study recommended a need for the government to make a gender responsive national budget for financing victims of internal displacements.Socio-cultural dimension should be taken to consideration by relief aid agencies and the government in assigning gender roles to disaster victims. Recovery programmes should be designed by policy makers to include community capacity building and sensitization.IDPs should be involved and participate in decision making on matters that affect their welfare in relief shelters and in resettlements. Infrastructure such as police post ,schools ,health centres, community hall, an information centre, setting up of counseling and debriefing centres in various parts of the country were recommended as an approach which will strengthen social networks and psycho-social support on the road to recovery. The study concluded that there was no gender mainstreaming for internally displaced persons in Rongai district.